Papin-Rouilly Gyroptère: So sterile yet so stimulating.

Can you imagine a huge one-bladed rotor air-jet helicopter powered by a 80hp Le Rhône rotary engine?…., well, that was precisely the idea patented in 1911 by A. Papin and D. Rouilly. This pair of French gentlemen based their idea on the sycamore seed which turns while it falls to ground.
The basic configuration of their Gyroptère is quite evident in this gorgeously clear photo. The beautifully built rotor blade at the right counterbalanced by the engine and its fan which is sightly to one side of the axis of rotation. The pilot “drum-cockpit”, over the peculiar round float,  was placed on the axis of rotation and mounted on ball-bearing and was centered against 4 horizontal rollers. The long tube near our intrepid pilot is the swiveling air-duct employed to to keep his “drum-cockpit” from moving with the blade and to provide the necessary forward thrust.
Tested in 31st March 1915 on Lake Cercey (Cote d’Or), the Gyroptère proved to be wildly unstable and sank without even achieving flight.

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